“For all their claim of solidarity, cultural superiority, tryst with democracy as a single polity and community and social harmony, Indians in general and the Indian Diaspora in particular, remain one of the most heterogeneous in the world.”
The British have been proved wrong on many occasions on their thoughts and beliefs about India and Indians. This extends from their initial apprehension of self-governance to the subsequent fear of over-indulgence in world affairs.
However, their charge that Indians cannot think and act together on a common platform even for a common cause has never been successfully disproved.
You need not go far to seek evidence either for or against this contention. There is ample proof right here in New Zealand, amongst us.
Thus far, we have not been able to establish a single organisation that could truly represent the Indian Diaspora, transcending territorial, linguistic, religious, cultural, social and income barriers. For all the lip service that is being rendered about ‘cultural plurality being a virtue’ and ‘unity in diversity,’ and other clichés, we Indians never learnt to lead a life of true harmony with our own community. Someone who has money must demonstrate his power of opulence, silencing those with lesser attributes.
It is a pity that associations, clubs and societies, established to foster regional cultures and traditions have themselves become arenas to settle personal scores or show the power of the wallet. While all of those holding on to their positions claim majority support, sighting this as the true democratic process, there are others who disagree, leave the organisation and start another one either as a rival or as “an organisation with a difference.”
In a sense, both are wrong. Public offices are meant to serve the community, not to test one’s ability to ‘purchase votes and people.’
So where do we do go from here? What is the solution? Should the people be allowed to carry on with their deeds and misdeeds? Where and when will this end?
Searching questions indeed, the answers to which are not far to seek. They rest within us and in our ability to forge unity and insist on everyone to remain as a group of people, not as dissent groups.
The Indian High Commissioner reportedly insists that he would not patronise organisations that promote rivalry in putting together parallel functions to commemorate India’s national observances and festivals. But he should support organisations that are well-established with a record of activities, and not those that wield money power.
Members of the Indian community must realise that their responsibility to their home country is lifelong and that it does not cease with the surrender of citizenship. For every human being, the bond with the motherland is always emotional and deep-rooted. The only way to promote such a unique relationship is to forge unity and companionship.
But this feeling of pride without prejudice should not botch but help us progress conscientiously and sensibly.